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Another wonderful find

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We were enjoying our dinner at August - one of our favorites - when Maryann, the chef, asked us if we had been to Sophia's yet. We hadn't, but Maryann had and told us it was wonderful. Now that's a recommendation!

We got there this past Friday. Sophia's is in the space that was Salt and Pepper at 1623 Passyunk Avenue. The chef, Christopher Lee, has worked at Striped Bass and other fine places.

It was a glorious meal.

If you go, don't miss the tuna sashimi tacos. And don't share them - you won't want to.

The Caesar salad, which is delicious, is big enough to share. The romaine is in large pieces, but you won't mind. The taste is right on target - so very good!

The large plates are definitely large enough to share. The whole roast chicken was crispy on the outside and juicy within. Our waitress offered to have it cut it apart, but my husband opted to do it himself. It is the first time I have ever seen him take food home from a restaurant. We had enough left for another dinner.

Our friend's raviolis - chestnut and something else - were raved about. I didn't taste them, but she loved them and said she would order them again.
I also had a small plate of meatballs over polenta. While it was very good, especially the creamy polenta, next time I would try something less ordinary.

There are only a few desserts. We were told that the desserts come from the bakery down the street (I don't remember the name) which also makes desserts for Fond. We had a delicious moist apple cake with vanilla gelato.

I am not describing the food accurately; you can see the menu online.
But this was an exceptional meal. Sophia's now ranks up with our top choices.

They have a full bar - great drinks. And Katie Loeb as bartender part of the time!

The place is small - plain, nothing beautiful - but the tables are spaced so that you can talk.

Now we can't wait to get back.
Welcome, Sophia's!

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  1. Thank you for the excellent review. We can always count on you for identifying good places to try.

    1. Thanks Sylvia.
      On our "to do" list.

      1. Sounds wonderful. Thanks Sylvia. Can't wait to try this restaurant. Btw, the bakery is Belle. Yum.

        1. I haven't been, but from the reviews it seems like they have an identity crisis. What type of food do they actually serve? People like to categorize things, and if you don't fit in a category, your risk falling between the cracks.

          Off to a slow start as far as I can tell, despite the hype of a well-known chef returning to Philly.

          1 Reply
          1. re: PhillyBestBYOB

            I went to Open Table to post the menu,but it was completely different - no tacos, raviolis, Caesar salad, etc.

            I called and was reassured; my favorites are still on the menu. They have been having a problem changing the menu on the Open Table site.

            What food do they actually serve? Eclectic, contemporary American. Small plates and large plates. I don't know why anyone would have a problem with the menu.
            My only problem with it was that I wanted too many things!

            The menu was not big, but it covered meat, fish, poultry and pasta.

            I'd say the category was "delicious food."

          2. Thank you for your comments, Faye, Arepo and Jan.
            It feels so good to be part of this community and to know someone is listening. We have a great Board!

            1. My friend and I dined early at Sophia's about a week ago because of your lovely review, sylviag.

              TL;DR Nice neighborhood place with warm attentive service that doesn't seem to rely on salt.

              Here's what we had:

              Drinks: London thyme, Some like it hot, and Pear drop. London thyme was a summery drink for the nice weather we've been having; Some like it hot was not spicy per the menu, but rather, was spiced; and my friend found Pear drop to be too ginger-forward while I thought it was fine. All cocktails were well-balanced between spirits and flavor, but nothing stood out as anything I'd order again.

              Bread: Crusty white bread, warmed, and a little tangy unsalted butter. We were told, however, that the butter was nothing special. Your tab will list how much you enjoy their bread. I would get even more bread the next time I'm here.

              Appetizers: tuna tacos, meatballs over polenta, Caesar salad.

              We shared the tuna sashimi in crispy corn tacos garnished with marinated matchstick radishes on shredded lettuce and would not order them again. My friend thought they were undersalted (this was my friend's primary complaint for almost all of the dishes and I do not remember seeing salt at the table) and, while I thought them texturally interesting, somewhere between a meat paste and chewy jelly, I couldn't tell that it was raw tuna had I not been told as its tuna flavor was masked with some soy sauce and sesame oil. I wish the chef had picked either a stronger profile or decided to let the tuna shine.

              Both of us liked the five inch-diameter meatballs (again, undersalted for my friend) over creamy polenta with a tangy tomato sauce. I tried some of this with the bread and really liked them together. I would order the polenta again, but my friend wouldn't. The Caesar salad comprised whole romaine leaves lightly dressed with a heavy hand of cheese, sliced soft-boiled egg, and tiny croutons. My friend thought the salad undersalted but liked the croutons. I found the salad light and refreshing and thought the deconstruction entertaining.

              Main and sides: roasted brussels sprouts with bacon, sauteed mixed mushrooms in olive oil, seafood paella. My friend did not find any fault with the above other than to note that some of the larger pieces of maitake were bland. The paella had a 2"x 2" piece of salmon, one 4" octopus tentacle, one scallop, two littlenecks, five mussels, four shrimp, and some andouille coins over well-separated short-grained rice. I thought the paella was almost too salty and had too much olive oil, but the latter was solved by more bread. I'd order all of these again, but would like to try the rest of the menu, particularly the roast chicken and lamb.

              Dessert: We finished with dark chocolate cheesecake when I was told that the creme brulee had sold out an hour before. Rich, dense, heavy, with a nice salted caramel and good chocolate crust. My friend would get this again.

              Thank you, sylviag, for another fine recommendation!

              1. I stopped by Sophia's last Saturday for brunch. Everything was great. Brioche French toast with bananas and walnuts. Katie mixed me up a delicious cocktail with carrot juice, champagne, and Aperol (?). It's really nice to have another brunch option in the neighborhood.